Friday, April 28th at 3pm in Dodge 622
Talk Title: The Congregation Stands: Sonic Worship, Space, and Community in Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde
In the Introductory note to the score for Noye’s Fludde, we’re given not only information but insight into how Britten framed the piece. A musical work that featured the congregation, Noye’s Fludde, like the medieval Chester Miracle plays was to be performed in “some big building … preferably a church … with the action raised on rostra, but not a stage removed from the congregation.” The acoustic and physical space as well as the ritual characteristics of that space were foundational parts of not only how Britten composed the piece but how it was to be performed. Writing for a community of East Anglian parishioners who would have had a deep connection to miracle plays, Britten understood how an informed community could act as another part of his compositional framework. This paper discusses how sound, space, and ritual come together in Noye’s Fludde to create a piece that is deeply rooted in place(s) and time(s), conveying the enmeshed relationship between medieval Anglican sonic practice and postwar secular Anglicanism.
Speaker Bio: Imani Danielle Mosley is a musicologist, cultural historian, and digital humanist and technologist focusing on the works of Benjamin Britten as well as music, opera, and modernism in Britain post-1945. Dr. Mosley received her PhD from Duke University (2019, AM 2015) and her current research addresses sonic culture, acoustics, and ritual in the English churches and cathedrals central to Britten’s sacred music. She is affiliate faculty in the University of Florida's Center for European Studies. Currently, she serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Musicological Research and College Music Symposium, is an Area Editor for Grove Music Online, and is a Member-at Large on the Council for the American Musicological Society and the Board Member for Musicology on the Board of Directors for the College Music Society.